Black Friday and Cyber Monday aren’t the only ways to kick off the giving season. Giving Tuesday, “a global giving movement,” is celebrated every year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. This year, get involved on Nov. 30 by donating to one of these 30 incredible causes around Chicago.
Arts and Education
Bernie’s Book Bank sources, processes, and distributes quality children’s books to increase book ownership among under-served infants, toddlers, and school-age children throughout Chicagoland. Since 2009, Bernie’s Book Bank has distributed 20 million books to empower children through the act of reading.
How to Help: Gift the gift of book ownership. A $20 donation to Bernie’s Book Bank will provide 20 free quality books for under-served children.
Horizons for Youth helps transform children’s lives by providing targeted resources, rooted in education, in a trusting partnership with their families and communities. Their programming includes academic monitoring, counseling for students and their families, tutoring, a mentorship program, and an Emergency Family Fund.
How to Help: Donations help fund Horizons many programs and services for their students. They are also always looking to partner with volunteers who are interested in working directly with students.
Cradles to Crayons provides children, from birth to age 12, living in low-income, or homeless situations with the essentials they need to thrive at home, at school, and at play. All items are given to children need free of charge.
How to Help: This Giving Tuesday, donations to Cradles to Crayons will go toward providing 54,000 Chicagoland children with free winter coats, gloves, and hats and more.
The Spark Program engages communities to provide career exploration and self-discovery opportunities that help middle school students understand and pursue what’s possible through mentorship.
How to Help: On Giving Tuesday, Spark is raising funds to fuel their Spring Mentorship program, enabling students on Chicago’s South and West sides to be matched with a mentor for a 13-week program focused on creating a career-based, interest-driven project.
North Chicago Community Partners uses a holistic approach to bridge the opportunity gap and support children by leveraging resources from within and around their own neighborhoods. Since 2008, NCCP programs include free high quality after school programming, a food and essential resource pantry, teacher recruitment/retention initiatives, and more.
How to Help: Donate today to help uplift North Chicago students, educators, and families. NCCP is also looking to accept non-monetary donations such as cereal, individually packaged snacks, and gently used books for children who visit their food pantry.
Urban Autism Solutions is dedicated to changing outcomes for young adults with autism through a vibrant community life that advances social and vocational opportunities.
How to Help: For the entire month of November, donations to Urban Autism Solutions of $150 and up will be matched by a $150 gift from The Coleman Foundation. UAS is also in need of garden gloves for students who work their Growing Solutions Farm, and cleaning supplies for the UAS West Side Transition Academy.
DBA’s Crushers Club aims to be the strongest alternative to gangs by providing youth the support and tools needed to restore their paths and rebuild their communities through their WorkForce employment and job training initiative, boxing and music programs, and peer mentoring.
How to Help: Donations will help fund DBA’s Crushers WorkForce program where they provide justice involved and high-risk young men employment and life skills training. Additionally, the Crusher Club is always grateful for donations of boxing gloves, hand wraps and mouth pieces for their boxing program.
The Posse Foundation is a college success and leadership development program that serves young people from backgrounds greatly underrepresented at elite institutions and leadership positions. Posse’s year-round program ensures that scholars persist and graduate with the skills and resources they need to excel as leaders in the workforce and their respective communities.
How to Help: Donations directly support The Posse Foundation in their effort to increase access and equity in higher education for deserving and diverse students
The Volunteer Center works with over 165 nonprofit partner organizations to help individuals, families, and service groups find ways to volunteer their time and help others in the community. The Volunteer Center’s mission is to “to promote volunteerism, support nonprofit organizations, and engage people in meaningful volunteer service in the communities we serve.”
How to Help: Donations support the volunteer clearinghouse functions through their website and Community Service Days throughout the year with over 165 nonprofit partners for over 15,000 individuals, service groups and valuable volunteer management trainings of the 165 nonprofit partners.
The People’s Music School delivers access to the benefits of high-quality, tuition-free music education. Through this educational experience, students at The People’s Music School grow musically, socially, and intellectually, and develop a foundation of responsibility, self-esteem, and purpose.
How to Help: Your donation will support 100% tuition free music lessons for over 800 students throughout Chicago.
LINK Unlimited Scholars provides high-potential Black students in Chicago with the resources and tools they need to succeed through a four-year high school fellowship that moves them to, through, and beyond college.
How to Help: Donations ensure that LINK Scholars have access to the valuable experiences provided by LINK’s fellowship through academic enrichment, leadership development, career exposure, and college access. Gifts can be made online or mailed to 2221 S. State St., Chicago, IL 60616.
Snow City Arts engages 1,300+ children annually who miss school due to hospital care with vibrant, trauma-informed, and Federal/IL standards-aligned arts education.
How to Help: Donate today to give the gift of arts education to a child in need. Snow City Arts is also seeking some musical instruments and paper making materials such as a bluetooth speaker speaker, a bongo style cajon, and a Arnold Grummer paper making tool supply kit.
C24/7 is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and young adults in the North of Howard neighborhood by providing the necessary tools, security and environment for them to thrive economically, socially and spiritually. C24/7 provides essential resources to its community such as after-school programming and job readiness training.
How to Help: Donate to make a change in the lives of children and young adults in the North of Howard neighborhood.
Founded in 1987, Chicago Sinfonietta is a professional orchestra dedicated to modeling and promoting diversity, inclusion, and both racial and cultural equity in the arts through the universal language of symphonic music.
How to Help: Your donation will support Chicago Sinfonietta’s education and community programs, which provide thousands of children and adults with the opportunity to learn about and experience classical music.
The George Pocock Rowing Foundation helps underserved youth access and experience the life-changing sport of rowing. Through physical activity, community development, and team building, their rowing programs help inspire youth to embrace their full potential on and off the water.
How to Help: $0.77 cents of every dollar donated to the George Pocock Rowing Foundation is spent on youth programming, ensuring young people have a chance to row and experience the benefits the sport provides.
PLA is a nonprofit network of high-quality schools that ensures that each of their scholars meet high academic and social standards, and thrive as leaders at home, in their communities, and in the world. PLA schools and families are supported through wrap-around services such as: free summer programming, free in-school tutoring, free job training programs and support in getting scholars to and through college.
How to Help: A donation to Phalen Leadership Academies helps fuel their mission to improve the lives of children in underserved communities.
Innovations for Learning is a Evanston-based non-profit that increases early reading abilities with a tutoring program that serves students across the globe.
How to Help: Donate here to support schools in need access to early literacy resources and technology as well as tutoring from trained paraprofessionals.
Health, Wellness and Empowerment
Skin of Steel’s mission is to provoke revolutionary personal, behavioral and institutional change in dealing with melanoma.
How to Help: Donations to Skin of Steel go toward supporting the international melanoma tissue bank and local melanoma prevention and awareness programs.
The Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center is one of the oldest woman’s boards in Chicago. The board works in partnership with the Medical Center to help it provide the best health care for the individuals and diverse communities Rush serves.
How to Help: Donations support the Rush University Medical Center’s education, research and community engagement programs, including the 2021 principal project: The Woman’s Board Fund for Precision Oncology Research.
And Rise Women Inc. empowers women to be the ultimate versions of themselves despite what adversities they may have faced. In addition to their empowerment events, & Rise offers a diverse range of services made to help women succeed. This roster includes financial education, professional development, and free support groups for female abuse or trauma survivors.
How to Help: Donations to &Rise go back to free counseling and free support groups for female trauma survivors so they can heal and thrive after trauma and abuse.
New Moms’ mission is to strengthen families by partnering with young moms as they progress toward housing stability, economic mobility, and family well-being.
How to help: Donate to New Moms this Giving Tuesday to invest in their essential housing, job training, and family support programming.
Established in 1998, Willow House is Chicagoland’s “go-to” program for grief services for youth and their families, providing no cost services that utilize the latest research and best practices in mental health.
How to Help: Donate today to help provide compassionate, no cost grief services to youth and their families.
CASA Lake County is a nonprofit organization that advocates for the best interests of abused and neglected children within the juvenile court system. CASA volunteers work in collaboration with key agencies, legal counsel and community resources to serve as the child’s advocate and represent the child’s best interests in juvenile court.
How to Help: CASA’s greatest need is for more dedicated volunteers to support and advocate for children in foster care in Lake County courts. Additionally, those interested in supporting CASA Lake County with a gift that will help fund their programming efforts to train and guide their volunteers can donate here.
Founded in 2010, Selah Freedom exists to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through four strong programs: Advocacy & Awareness, Prevention, Outreach, and Residential.
How to Help: Donations to Selah Freedom go toward providing food, hygiene products, and new clothes for survivors of sex trafficking.
The WINGS Program, Inc. provides victims of domestic violence and their children an escape route through a variety of resources and programming. WINGS offers high-quality facilities, intensive client support, and an integrated continuum of housing and services that have helped thousands of domestic violence victims gain safety, security, and independence.
How to Help: Your donation will help children receive the services they need to overcome the trauma they have experienced because of domestic violence. On Giving Tuesday, November 30th, WINGS is raising $25,000 to help support this program.
Curt’s Cafe is a Evanston-based restaurant training program that improves outcomes of young adults living in at-risk situations through life skills and workforce training.
How to Help: Donate today to help fund this life-changing program for Evanston’s youth. Donations are used to fund student training, programming, stipends and meals.
Meals on Wheels delivers nutritious meals, medically prescribed diets, and provides other supportive services to homebound elderly, disabled individuals, and others temporarily unable to care for their nutritional needs.
How to Help: Your donation will contribute to the cost of meal delivery, including the roughly 80% of clients who received discounted meal fees.
A Just Harvest fights poverty and hunger in the Rogers Park and the greater Chicago community by providing nutritious meals daily while cultivating community and economic development and organizing across racial, cultural and socioeconomic lines to create a more just society.
How to Help: Consider donating to A Just Harvest this Giving Tuesday to help sustain their essential work.
Housing & Anti-Poverty
A Safe Haven Foundation is a social enterprise that helps people aspire, transform, and sustain their lives as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency with pride and purpose. A Safe Haven provides the tools for each individual to overcome homelessness through a holistic and scalable model.
How to Help: A Safe Haven accepts credit card, check, and even stock donations this Giving Tuesday. A Safe Haven is also asking for new unwrapped Christmas gifts/tours for children 0-16 years old.
For more than 125 years Northwestern Settlement has nurtured, educated and inspired children and families in need in Chicago. They disrupt generational poverty through a primary focus on children & young adults and the specific challenges they face at distinct stages of life.
How to Help: This year Northwestern Settlement is asking supporters to Give Forward, Give to a Family’s Future. Northwestern Settlement is also accepting donations of new gifts and toys for their holiday toy room.
More From Better:
- The 2021 Better Guide to Giving
- Family Philanthropy: Expert Financial Tips to Help You Align Your Money with Mission in 2021
- Get Involved: 25 Chicago Housing Nonprofits
Melissa Perry is a senior journalism and international studies major from Northwestern University. Raised in Mt. Sterling, Illinois, Melissa is a proud Midwest girl through and through with a lifelong love for dance and the arts!